A health food store in eastern P.E.I. is looking for a way around health regulations after provincial officials told them to stop selling eggs they buy from local farmers.
The eggs haven't been inspected, and officials say that violates health regulations. Mary and Chris Mermuys of Turning Point Health Food in Montague have been selling eggs from local producers for seven years, but were only told last week to stop.
The eggs are still available at their store, but they say they're giving them away. If you want a carton to carry them in, however, it will cost you $2.75.
Mary Mermuys told CBC News Tuesday the rules don't make sense because farmers are allowed to sell their eggs directly to customers.
"Our suppliers would be allowed to set up at a farmer's market so that's great," said Mermuys.
"People say, 'Why can't the farmer just bring them here,' and for convenience we buy them here. And we're not allowed to sell them. They're the same eggs."
The Mermuyses had been selling about 50 dozen eggs a week.
"Customers are looking for local eggs. They want to know where they come from, that they're raised properly, not in little cages," said Mermuys.
"They seem to be very happy with the product."
The Montague store is among a handful of businesses the province has outlawed in recent months from selling ungraded eggs.
P.E.I. health officials have said ungraded eggs could be contaminated with salmonella. The rules around selling them haven't changed in 20 years.
The Department of Agriculture, which regulates commercial egg distribution, said it is working with small egg producers to find a way for their eggs to get approved.
The Mermuyses intend to continue to sell their cartons, and give away the eggs inside. They also have plans to meet with officials from the Department of Agriculture.